At a time when the heartrending song being echoed across the country is that of a dying culture of reading and writing among the youth, 22-year-old Chancellor College student, Dave Namusanya, has emerged third in the Africa Liberty Essay Writing Competition which called for entries from youthful African writers.
The organisers of the competition, African Liberty and Network for a Free Society, have announced the results on their website, www.africanliberty.org, which indicate that the overall winner out of a total of 198 participants who submitted their essays is Oluwanifise Moses Abiodun from Obafemi Awolowo University of Nigeria while on the second position is Omoh Nicholas Kelubia from University of Benin also in Nigeria with Namusanya from University of Malawi coming third.
To qualify for the competition, participants were asked to submit essays of not more than 1,500 words on any of the three topics: The Predatory State: Its Origins and Implications for Economic Growth, Statism; Free Markets: An essential ingredient in Africa's Economic growth? And Protectionism or Trade: Alternatives for Africa's economic growth.
Speaking in an interview with The Daily Times, Namusanya said his winning essay was on the alternatives for Africa's economic growth, focusing on the aspect that the continent needs trade and not protectionism to develop.
"My essay dwelt on the topic of protectionism and trade. It is my conviction that it is only through trade that Africa can develop just like was the case with what led to the development of Western countries," explained Namusanya, adding that he is highly excited as he never expected to get the award and that out of all the winners he is the only Malawian to get the recognition.
For the feat achieved, Namusanya will receive $500 (approximately K135, 000) and a scholarship to the 2012 Students and Young Professional African Liberty Academy at the Catholic University in Quelimane, Mozambique. The winner and his runner-up will get $1000 and $700 respectively plus the same scholarship as Namusanya.
There are 10 consolation prizes going out to winners from various universities in other African countries like Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Ethiopia.
According to the website, the judges looked at "understanding and discussion of the issues, organization and clarity of thought as well as presentation and prose" to determine the winners.
"Broadly, the performance seems to be on the average. Some writers displayed very high level understanding of pro-market principles while some copied and submitted non-original essays," reads the information in part.